Club Sports Emerging at Columbus State

COLUMBUS, Ga. - With spring semester under way, a new club sports program at Columbus State University is providing an opportunity for students to compete against their peers from other colleges and universities.

A co-ed tennis club already is established and other sports clubs are forming.

'It's a step above intramural sports, but not quite the level of intercollegiate sports,' said campus recreation director Rick Cravens, who administers the program.

Beyond competition, club sports are designed to help students develop leadership, financial and organizational management skills through creating, organizing, and running their own clubs. 'Club sports are student-driven,' Cravens said. 'They do most of the planning, recruitment and work.'

Darryl Holloman, assistant vice president for student affairs, said club sports also 'foster student friendships and partnerships — bringing participants closer together as they practice and compete.'

Students also must raise funds to start their clubs and maintain them by creating and administering a membership fee plan that's typically $20-$100 per semester.

Tennis club members, who already competed at Auburn this fall, launched their organization in part by securing a $750 grant from the U.S. Tennis Association and CSU Tennis Coach Evan Isaacs' permission to use the Blackmon Tennis Center for practice and future meets.

Meanwhile, other student groups have recently chartered tackle football and women's soccer, while ultimate Frisbee and men's soccer are close to approval.

Tackle football, said Cravens, is gaining popularity as a club sport in the South, as five universities within 150 miles of Columbus State offer it as a club sport or allow their junior varsity teams to compete on the club level.

The 10-month club sport season — throughout the fall and spring semesters — will complement Columbus State's four-to-eight-week intramural sports programs, said Cravens.

Though students primarily compete in club sports, participation is open to faculty and staff as well. And on campuses with established programs, club sports are popular with spectators from the off-campus community.

'This signifies how sports in general can build or strengthen relationships between universities and surrounding communities,' said Holloman.

For more information, contact Rick Cravens at 706-568-2273.